ГлавнаяКаталог работЭкономика → Strikes - is there a link between strikes and the economic climate

Не забывайте помогать другим, кто возможно помог Вам! Это просто, достаточно добавить одну из своих работ на сайт!

Список категорий Поиск по работам Добавить работу
Подробности закачки

Strikes - is there a link between strikes and the economic climate

Essay in Labour Economics


Is there a link between strikes and the economic climate?


This essay will discuss the topic of labour strikes. First of all what kind of strikes there are and later what effects they have had. Using examples in the near and far history, the situation in Russia will be discussed. Each of the examples will be placed in it’s economic climate and later conclusion will be drawn with that combination.

General information about strikes
Having a strike means to stop working or to hinder the work with as goal to put pressure on the employer. In order to organize a strike, a union must be formed. This can either be an official union or just a collection of employees. After discussion within the union, the majority of the union member must support this strike.

In the English language, most likely the word strike was first used around 1700 and probably comes from the notion of dealing a blow to the employer. One of the first documented strikes was in 1786 in Philadelphia where a group of printers requested a raise and the company rejected it. They stopped working in protest and eventually received their raise.
Strikes are a method of employees to make something clear to their employees. Often strikes are a method of last resource when just talking does not help anymore and more serious force is needed. The power of strikes lies in the damage it can do to the company and that is can be used as a serious threat during negotiations.
It’s neither in favour of the union nor of the company to use strikes early on in the negotiating process nor to have a very long strike. Because strikes are a last resource, it will ruin the process of communication if the strike is being used to soon. At the same time, strikes are not something with which employees can get everything they want. The demands must be reasonable.

Strikes types
There are different types of strikes possible
• Sick-in / Sick-out
With this type of strike, all the members of the union call in sick on the same day, making use of their right to be sick. This can be seen as a warning to the employer of what loss he faces during a full strike.
• Slow down
Here all employees come to work but work much slower compared to normal. Start doing everything by the book, double checking every procedure.
• Sit down strike
Coming to work but refusing working or leaving the company in the evening. This prevents the employers from putting other employees at the same position to continue the work.
• Sympathy strike
In this type of strike, unions spread over different companies owned by the same employer join together. Often this is done to put even more pressure on the employer.
• General strike
In this strike all the employees over different companies in the same sector, region or country join in strike together. This is done to put pressure on the government.
• Hunger strike
Strike in which people refuse to eat until agreement is reached. Very desperate measurement, not seen often within labour strikes but quite common with asylum requests.
• Sports strike
As the name shows, this is a strike within the sports legion. The principle is exactly the same compared a normal labour strike.

Another important part of striking is the marching around the gate or on the pavement of the company with banners to show the company is on strike. This is both to let the public know that there is a strike going on, as well as to prevent other non union workers to enter the building. Anyone who will go through this line and starts to work, is often called a scab.

Because strikes are being used as a last resort, the reason people strike is quite often a serious one. It seems to be that strikes most often happen when employees are not being paid or when drastic reorganisations are likely to happen including many lay offs.
When considering a strike, people will look at the risk of getting fired because of striking. This can happen when there is plenty of supply of labour and little demand.
In many countries, the government insures the right to strike for employees. This so they can defend themselves against their employees.

Official unions play often a big role in the organisation of strikes. It depends however on the country and how the unions have developed there. In some countries, like for example Great Britain the unions always have been very strong. They are early invited during the negotiating process and this can prevent strikes. At the same time, if strikes happen, they know they will have a large group of people who will support them.

Situation in Russia
The situation in Russia has changed severely over time, one of the things that changed was the freedom that employees had to strike.

According to the publications that are available now, the situation for unions is not that good. There are some independent and state associated unions. The independent unions are often smaller and have great difficulties in being heard. When talking about the state associated unions, one must think about the largest union, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions. When talking about independent, it’s meant how they are working, what their actions are showing, not if they claim to be independent or not.
The Constitution is very clear about striking, all employees have the right to strike. However when looking at the labour code, the first step of strike is to have a meeting will all the employees. Only if a majority of all these employees is supporting this, a list of demands must be presented to the management. After the reaction of the management, a reconciliation process is needed. Only if this fails, it’s legally allowed to strike. If there is something along the way that is not according to the law, a court can quite easily call the strike illegal. There seems to be a trend that often the courts agree with the employers in the case of fairness of strikes.

It has been proven difficult to find figures of recent strikes and their effect. Of the year 2008 no information was found regarding strikes. This could be due to a decrease in strikes or little information in English available. At the same time, because it’s so hard to have an official strike, not all strikes are being reported and included in the statistics.
Most remarkable strikes
In Yekaterinenburg 8 employees went into hunger strike after seeing 300 of their colleagues being fired. The hunger strikers demanded many months of back wages for themselves and promised back wages and severance pay for the over 300 workers fired from the plant in July for lack of work. It had effect and the 8 employees received their wages.
At least in 2004 hunger strikes have become more popular because their stronger effect. In this case, the hunger strikers did receive their wages while their colleagues only received the promise of getting they wage again.
In the same year, most likely also in the Ural, 30 workers of a chemical plant went on hunger strike. Again here the reason was not having received wages for over a year. The outcome was the same, the people on hunger strike received their money while their fellow strikes only received a promise for quick repay of the wages.

On October 7th, a nation wide general strike found place. With millions of workers who protested against back pay and the miserable pay of social benefits. At the same time this seemed to be a political, demanding a different president.
This does make sense looking at the economic situation, a situation of pure crisis.

In this year, 400,000 of the 560,000 mine workers went on strike at the same time. With that the work in 180 mines has been stopped. Most of these strikers, did not receive pay for months and were struggling to get by. The mines that did stay open were paid by their local government and did not have the same problems.
At the same time, in eastern Siberia there were thousands of school teachers on strike. As well as 150 nuclear plant workers who refused to work for one day, calling it a warning strike. In the same week pensioners who did not receive their pensions for a long time, blocked some railroad bridges. The government was rather confused on how to deal with this magnitude, also because they did not have enough money to pay the strikers their wages.
It was unclear how the situation ended.
The economic situation was also in this year not that good, this could very well explain the late pay from the government. In addition energy payments are always paid last by companies to their suppliers and therefore it’s well explainable that the miners went on strike.

The situation in Russia is indeed different compared to the Western world when it comes down to strikes. Going on hunger strikes just to get paid, it’s something that is not possible in Europe. It seems that employees here only strike when they are at the end of all their possible resources, completely desperate and with little more to loose.
The economic climate does play a role, the most severe strikes coincide with an economic crisis. Perhaps therefore we might see an increase in the number of strikes in the next couple of months if this economic crisis will continue.

1. Carbaugh. Robert J (1995). International Economics. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
2. Grabianowki, E., 2007, How Strikes Work, http://money.howstuffworks.com/strike.htm
3. Carr, A:E, 2004, Russian Bearing Factory Workers on Hunger Strike, the Ebearing news

Данные о файле

Размер 39 KB
Скачиваний 31


* Все работы проверены антивирусом и отсортированы. Если работа плохо отображается на сайте, скачивайте архив. Требуется WinZip, WinRar